Cordillera kay ganda: Baguio leg

Sagada/Baguio trips are operated by Gl/Lizardo Bus. Fare is 220 pesos (180 something if you’re a student hehe) and travel time is approximately 5 to 6 hours. Buses leave every hour from 5 AM to 1 PM (last trip) or earlier if the full capacity is already reached. There are no reservations, it’s a first come first served basis so you might want to plan your schedule ahead. I think the last trip is at 1 PM because the route is along Halsema Highway (or the Baguio-Bontoc Road) and it’s pretty dangerous so there must be sunlight as much as possible. Also along the 150 km stretch of the road is the highest altitude highway in the Philippines at the municipality of Atok, Benguet.

When Fae and I rode the bus at 5AM, the vendors selling rice porridge and other foods near the terminal were still closed so we got hungry during the trip. Good thing we had the cinnamon bread we bought at a nondescript bakery outside of town the day before. For 25 pesos, you get a bread as big as bigger than your face. The taste is good considering the price. It’s even better than the one they sell at Red Ribbon!

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6216.Hello Baguio! The temperature here is nothing compared to Sagada. It’s how we felt when we were feeling warm already from all the hiking we did. While walking towards Burnham Park, suddenly the whole place was covered in fog and it’s my first time to see Baguio with this low visibility.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6228.I think it’s the season for flowers because there are a lot of vendors selling along Burnham Park. We weren’t planning on buying but they were dirt cheap and this woman right here charmed us into shelling out a meager 25 pesos for a dozen. A DOZEN. FOR 25 PESOS.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6223.Met up with Marie and Emman who were doing the touristy thing of paddling along the man made lake in the park.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6247.Vanity while waiting for the lovebirds to finish.

DCIM103GOPROG2666234.We grabbed lunch at the famous Cafe by the Ruins, walking distance from the park. Good thing we arrived before the lunch rush hour. While waiting for our orders, people arrived out of thin air and suddenly there was a long queue outside of hungry tourists waiting to be seated.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6266.Emman had Ernie’s BLT Sandwich, “Honey-cured bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes, with homemade mayo in Ernie’s kamote bread” and it was delicious. I especially liked the sweetness of the kamote bread, something Cafe by the Ruins is famous for. Fae had Tia Olympia’s Fresh Lumpia which was okay. Marie ordered pasta with fish fillet and I had one of the best Carbonara ever.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6284.The ambiance of the place was great, perfect for taking pictures to post in social networking sites.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6285.Fae and I were supposed to go to Tuba, Benguet for the fictional barrio of La Presa where Forvermore shoots (my mother is an avid fan) but it’s located on top of a mountain and the going rate of hired taxis is 800 pesos up. We didn’t have that kind of money anymore (this being the last day of our trip) so we asked around if we could hike up Mt. Kabuyao from Green Country Valley. We actually could but the thought of hiking again in our casual clothes with the threat of an incoming typhoon plus the time being 2PM already and the climb taking 3 to 4 hours, we shrugged it off and said to ourselves we’d visit next time. Instead, we went to Emman and Marie’s room in Baguio which seemed like it’s been stuck 20 years ago. Do yourselves a favor and do not check in here (forgot the name of the place). There are cockroaches everywhere and the bathroom is so gross you wouldn’t want to touch even the door handle.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6289.After Emmman and Marie left (they were able to get a ticket bound to Manila at 3:30 PM), Fae and I got our bags from the baggage counter of Robinson’s Supermarket where we left it upon arriving, loitered in Starbucks along Session Road while fixing our things and ourselves, reading the paper and soaking up the news of the last couple of days (mostly about Pope Francis), and checking out our internet lives. Our ticket was actually for 2:30 AM the next day but we decided to try our luck at going home earlier so off we went to the Victory Liner terminal. The queue for chance passengers was quite long. I tried re-booking our ticket at an earlier time and the earliest available was at 5:50 PM for a Monumento bound bus.

DCIM103GOPROGOPR6291.While inside the bus, Fae and I started reminiscing the adventures of the last couple of days and though we were both longing for our own beds in our own homes, we agreed that for the next week or so, we would miss Cordillera and everything about it especially the cold climate. Then we’d get tired of remembering and our feet would start itching again.

I know my wallet is a far cry from being ready but I’m already asking, “Where to next?”.

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